The Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship, hosted by Jim Leech, opens in 2024 for African students and recent graduates.

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(PRNewsfoto/Mastercard Foundation)

The Mastercard Foundation and the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) have partnered to offer over 1,000 students the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students at Queen’s University. This initiative provides free virtual entrepreneurship training and the chance to secure startup funding. Launched in September 2020, the program caters to students and recent graduates from African universities within the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

Participants have access to virtual entrepreneurship training delivered by Queen’s University’s DDQICProgram, featuring renowned faculty and experts in entrepreneurship, policy, and business strategy. During the 2020-2021 academic year, 1,252 students took part, with over 60% of the cohort being women, recognizing the specific challenges women face in African entrepreneurship and employment.

Jim Leech, the former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Mastercard Foundation and Chancellor Emeritus of Queen’s University, expressed pride in the program and its positive impact. Prospective fellows access a curated list of online entrepreneurship courses and work through the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Framework developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This fellowship aims to combat post-secondary graduate unemployment by equipping students and recent graduates with the entrepreneurial skills needed to start and grow their businesses.

Titose Chembezi, a student from the University of Cape Town and a $5,000 winner in the DDQIC Summer Pitch Competition, shared how the experience boosted her confidence and changed her perspective on African startups. The Mastercard Foundation established these fellowships in honor of Jim Leech and his contributions to pension management innovation and community involvement.

Source: Master card Foundation 

For application inquiries, please contact:

Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre
Megan Sieroka
Program Coordinator at the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students